Andrew Henderson

Andrew Henderson

Founder of Nomad Capitalist and the world’s most sought-after expert on global citizenship.

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Sodastream: how governments shut down businesses for no reason

If you’re a business owner, you realize that getting your message out and ultimately, selling, is the most important thing you can do.  That’s why the British broadcasting industry’s decision to censor a SodaStream TV ad is especially troubling.

It’s no secret that the UK has had lofty rules regarding for some time.  Clearcast, an NGO owned by the major broadcasters, works to screen tens of thousands of spots a year for compliance with the government’s 160-some page broadcast standards rules. I’m all in favor of private enterprise dictating what content it will and won’t accept; American networks running the Super Bowl have banned everything from harmless Doritos ads to spots pushing plus-size lingerie.

Consider, though, the tone of the UK group’s rejection of SodaStream’s ad: “The ad could be seen to tell people not to go to supermarkets and buy soft drinks, instead help to save the environment by buying a SodaStream… We thought it was the denigration of the bottled drinks market.”  That’s a lot different than saying “we don’t want big boobs on during the Super Bowl”. It’s a form of censorship. And in the case of the UK, if your ad doesn’t get approved by the TV police, you can’t just go across the street to another network.  They control them all.

This is why it’s more important than ever to think globally when planning your business ventures.  Countries like the UK and many other developed western powers are becoming increasingly difficult to do business in on a multitude of fronts, and this is just another example of that.

Being chained to one country, especially one with ever-increasing regulations, may not be the best plan.  I’ll be highlighting some favorable jurisdictions on my radio show in early 2013, including some which will welcome you as a resident with open arms.

I’ve worked with some controversial figures in my days in the advertising world, from Kevin Trudeau to televangelists.  Despite complaints about them by some, I’ve always found that when you get inside their organization there are usually plenty of people who love what they’re selling and believe in it wholeheartedly.

Whether you share those beliefs, today’s example of an innocuous business being shunned from UK airwaves for supercilious reasons indicates that the bounds of government-condoned censorship police (and their oftentimes anti-business mentality) are creeping further and further in some countries.  The good news is, if you think globally, the world is your business’ oyster.

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